A Commitment To Best Practices

Best_Practices

One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices.

As I travel the country, I have the opportunity to observe many extraordinary club leaders and see many great clubs. One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices. It doesn’t matter if clubs are running at top speed or just coming out of the starter blocks, those who keep industry best practices as the guideposts always stay on track, even during challenging times.

These practices are important and must be understood for clubs to evolve and succeed. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”

Evolution is hard but necessary for our great industry. It may seem as though we are beating people over the head with these best practices, but I’m going to keep reminding everyone about them because they aren’t as generally accepted as they should be.

Informed Leadership Best Practices

  • Continuously educate stakeholders (boards, committees, members and staff ) on industry trends, best practices and important societal trends impacting the private club industry.
  • Conduct mandatory and comprehensive orientations for all stakeholders.
  • Adopt the fact-based private club business model and related financial best practices. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use them to drive decision-making.
  • Embrace data-driven leadership rooted in strong governance principals. Ensure transparent communication to all stakeholders.

Informed leadership creates the best possible stakeholders who fully understand their role and the role of others in the organization. Every club should strive to create a culture of constant learning from service to governance through education and training. Constant learning for every board member, committee member and the entire staff is the foundation for these best practices.

Strategic Stewardship

  • Develop and maintain an effective strategic plan.
  • Protect, preserve and grow the assets through comprehensive capital planning that addresses obligatory and aspirational improvements with a unified master plan.
  • Enhance member value by creating innovative club experiences.
  • Ensure seamless transitions of boards, committees and senior staff.

Keep stakeholders on target. The best way to do this is to use a strategic road map for where you are going and then constantly remind everyone to keep them on track.

Empowered Management and Team

  • Create and maintain robust systems for talent acquisition, retention and professional development.
  • Utilize proven performance management systems to set goals and measure outcomes.
  • Perform regular team engagement surveys and compare them to benchmarks. Act on survey results.

Managers and management teams who are empowered and trusted to lead the club will do so nicely with pride and enthusiasm.

Compelling Member Experience

  • Match member expectations to the club’s primary purpose. Evolve and adapt as necessary.
  • Measure member needs, preferences and satisfaction on a regular basis.
  • Provide a value proposition that cultivates highly engaged, loyal and satisfied members who think like owners.
  • Present a relevant experience that easily attracts the next generation of members.

Creating a compelling member experience and a compelling team experience is a direct result of a club that functions on the best practices detailed above.

Additionally, there are two emerging practices that would benefit many clubs: 1) Managers and board presidents meeting quarterly with the club’s past presidents to keep them informed, provide education on the “issues of the day,” and use their counsel to guide in the decision-making process. 2) We are seeing local Presidents’ Councils form (with the help of regional club managers) as a way for club presidents to share ideas and data. This has been especially important during COVID-19 but also helpful for everything affecting clubs such as water issues, labor challenges, programming and amenities. The gathering and sharing of information continue to build on the culture of education and informed decision-making in which all these best practices are centered around.

Contributed by Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, CCE, ECM
Partner, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE
Connect at tom@kkandw.com or 412-670-2021.

National Club AssociationClub Director – Spring 2021

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A Commitment To Best Practices2021-08-03T01:46:33+00:00

Trust & Collaboration

Trust and Collaboration

Prominent board members explained how their boards responded and what was key to the survival of their clubs….

At the Virtual World Conference on Club Management in March 2021, club executives shared lessons learned and reflected how their clubs overcame the turbulent times of the pandemic. In a panel session with Kurt Kuebler of the consulting firm KOPPLIN KUEBLER AND WALLACE, prominent board members explained how their boards responded and what was key to the survival of their clubs.

Fred Palmer, a board member from Augusta Country Club in Augusta, GA, noted his board made a decision to support the staff financially through COVID-19, which he believes was the secret sauce for retaining their great employees and keeping them motivated and passionate. He said trusting the professionals and empowering them has never been as crucial as it was during the pandemic and continues today.

“The pandemic really opened our eyes to how valuable our staff is. They had to execute all of these spur of the moment communications and operational changes and did it all with a smile. They provided a great experience for our members in a really tough environment. It highlighted the importance of our staff and how great they are at what they do,” he said.

President of the Yale Club of New York City, Yoshiko Inoue, said experiencing this painful period emphasized the importance of trust between the board and the management team at her club. Trusting that each person has the club’s best interests in mind and working together to create a positive environment were crucial. “Managing to a new future state is going to take creativity and collaboration but I am confident we can do it,” she said.

Bill Chilies the immediate past president of Houston Country Club in Houston, TX, urged club executives to empower their professionals to take control of the club. It was the biggest lesson his board learned during COVID-19. “We learned we have to back away and let the management team manage. It’s our job to be involved in strategy and to make suggestions but we recognized that our governance has to be on track and that we can’t micromanage the team.” He referred to the importance of communication and being transparent with the membership. “We discovered we can’t let committees govern the club. It’s time we moved out of the past and let the board do board work and let our staff leaders lead,” he concluded.

Kuebler summarized this portion of the panel discussion by noting the importance of succession planning at clubs. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of clubs developing the next generation of staff who can problem solve and evolve to help the club stay relevant no matter what is going on in the world.”

The Private Club Advisor – May 2021
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Trust & Collaboration2021-05-26T14:39:19+00:00

Dick Kopplin Ready For Renaissance Years

Sometimes the best laid plans end up being just that…plans! And what happens after that often is serendipitous.

Serendipity often takes us on a path we’ve never considered but a path that often leads to a passion. In a nutshell, that describes the long, illustrious career of Dick Kopplin, a mainstay of the private club industry.

It all began on a cold, snowy night in Eau Claire, WI, where Kopplin was studying for final exams during his senior year of college.

The phone rang. On the other end of the line was the president of the Hillcrest Country Club.

“Dick, the executive board of Hillcrest would like to meet with you at my home Thursday to discuss if you might have an interest in being our next club manager,” Kopplin related recently about what the president said.

“The president told me he knew I’d been working part-time in the restaurant business to earn tuition money.

“I said I’d be happy to meet with them, but that my career plan hopefully was being accepted at the University of Wisconsin law school after I had graduated with a double major in English and history from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. I was interested in politics and was elected as the youngest member in the history of the city by defeating an incumbent running for the Eau Claire City Council.

“My uncle served as our state representative in the legislature, and I envisioned myself following in his political footsteps,” he added.

“My college roommate and I had been sharing a small apartment and pooled our weekly grocery money of $10 each. I’d shop and do the cooking and my roommate did the dishes. There were some days when our final dinners that week featured a can of Spam and baked beans, although we always saved a little money for Friday nights when we’d walk five blocks and buy a cold mug of Michelob at Smitty’s Tap Room for 25 cents. We had enough money for two each. Those were the days!”

Dick Kopplin’s plans changed that chilly December evening and set him on a path that has culminated in an outstanding 45-year career. No question, he’s been as resilient as the private club industry itself.

“The club executive board offered me the club manager’s job at a salary of $800 a month and a $50 a month car allowance. I thought I’d won the lottery!” Kopplin exclaimed.

Reality set in on a Monday morning, his first day at the club.

“I walked into the club to assume my new duties as club manager, and there were three gentlemen waiting in the lobby. ‘It was very nice for some club members to welcome me on my first day,’ I said to the club’s office administrative assistant.

“’Dick, those aren’t club members; they’re vendors we owe money to and they heard that a new club manager was starting today. They’re here to collect,’ she replied.”

Kopplin quickly discovered the club was out of money, had lost over a hundred members and had experienced dishonest management and fraud over the previous couple of years.

“I was overwhelmed by the financial issues…a 24-yearold management neophyte who didn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement,” Kopplin related.

While commenting on his fiscal ignorance and the club’s sad financial state to the club’s chef, one of the dishwashers overheard his comments and injected, “Mr. K, I’m an accounting and finance major in my senior year in college. Maybe I can help you.

“’Roger,’ I said, ‘take off your apron. Your dishwashing days are over.’”

It happened to be the most challenging work Kopplin had ever taken on. Still, within three months, he and Roger, the financial guy, had discovered the financial holes and put together a recovery plan for Hillcrest.

“After one year, the board promoted me to general manager and rewarded me with a bonus and substantial salary increase. When I left three years later for a general manager opportunity in Minnesota, the club had money in the bank and prospered with the third largest club membership in the state of Wisconsin,” he recalled.

The Club Managers Association of America (now Club Management Association of America) has also played a considerable role in Kopplin’s life, as has his work in the life of the association.

“George Carroll, a fellow manager in Minneapolis, invited me to my first CMAA meeting, and I found two very valuable features in CMAA. First was the obvious focus on education and the second and, probably as valuable, was my networking ability with other managers.” Kopplin’s work with CMAA became a lifetime commitment that continues today.

After 10 years in the Twin Cities, Kopplin moved to a residential community club in Florida and was there only a year when he was offered the opportunity to participate in the development of Castle Pines, a few miles south of Denver, CO.

However, after three years of a dismal economy, the clubhouse project he was working on stalled. But while at Castle Pines, Kopplin served on the executive committee for a PGA event, The International, and enjoyed three years of observing a very successful and unique tournament.

So, it wasn’t a lost opportunity… but there was more to learn and understand, all of which set in motion a vision for the future – running Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ.

“While having lunch with our golf professional, he shared a magazine focused on golf course communities. The cover picture featured the stunning clubhouse of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, Arizona,” Kopplin added.

“I kept the magazine on the top of my desk and while looking at it every day wrote in my journal that, ‘Someday I will manage Desert Highlands.’ Be careful what you write in your journal. Was it not Goethe who said, ‘Even when you don’t know how, believe that you will?’” Kopplin believed in the will, and the way happened shortly after.

“One afternoon, while in my Castle Pines office, the developer of Castle Pines, Jack Vickers, called to say he had a friend in town who would like to see the property. He asked me to show him around.”

That three-hour tour around Castle Pines with Lyle Anderson resulted in another incredible opportunity in Kopplin’s career.

“As we were saying goodbye, Lyle said to me, ‘Dick, I’ve developed a couple of golf course communities in Scottsdale, Arizona and I really need someone like you to oversee the club operations. Do you think you would have an interest?’ he queried.”

Two months later, Kopplin arrived in Scottsdale as the new director of club operations for Desert Highlands and Desert Mountain.

“During one of the many conversations we had over the years, Anderson asked me if I’d ever thought of starting a company in the private club business to focus on what I had done for his clubs – finding all of the key personnel, including general managers, golf professionals, course superintendents and chefs.”

“That started me thinking,” Kopplin said, but it was a process that was going to take a while, because after six years at Desert Highlands and Desert Mountain, Kopplin, recruited by KSL, took over the club operations at PGA West in La Quinta, CA.

“I continued to reflect on Lyle’s question and in April 1996 decided to venture out on my own by starting Kopplin Search, Inc., a search firm for the private club industry,” Kopplin recalled.

Enter John Fornaro.

About the same time, another industry entrepreneur, John Fornaro, happened to be launching a new publication for the private club industry, BoardRoom magazine.

“While in California, I was fortunate to meet John Fornaro. I told John the magazine was a great idea and, in the very first issue, took out a full-page ad for Kopplin Search, Inc.” That happened to be the start of a long and prosperous relationship for both Kopplin and Fornaro.

Kopplin has not only continued to advertise with BoardRoom for the past 25 years, but he and his compatriots have also written dozens of articles on various club management and governance topics for BoardRoom.

“John’s proven to be a good friend and we have watched our respective businesses grow and prosper over time,” Kopplin recalled recently.

When he started the company 25 years ago, Kopplin decided a great way to market his company’s search services would be to offer information and education sessions to the many CMAA chapters around the country.

“I shared some of my experiences from decades of club management and talked about how club managers could more effectively work with their board members. John Fornaro was very supportive of my efforts and BoardRoom magazine often shared the same message I was delivering to club managers around the country,” Kopplin added.

Shortly after launching his company, another fortuitous meeting occurred. A mutual friend introduced Kopplin to Steve Graves, the owner of Creative Golf Marketing, another industry consultant.

“I found we shared the same philosophy about private club governance and Steve introduced me to the board of a small club in Kansas needing a new general manager. That happened to be a successful search, after which I began to receive calls from other potential clients. My search business began to flourish,” Kopplin recalled.

“Club executives have always been eager to discuss the ‘best practices’ for private club management and governance. I delivered hundreds of presentations to individual clubs as well as CMAA and CMAA’s chapter meetings. As well, writing in every issue of BoardRoom magazine provided great exposure for the company.”

Kopplin added: “No question, my focus on education resonated with club general managers and club board members.”

There’s an adage, especially for budding entrepreneurs, “One and one makes three.” After working solo for a couple of years, Kopplin realized he needed some help. One person couldn’t do all the work required for a growing company, so Kopplin turned to Nan Fisher, whom he recruited and had worked with for many years at Desert Mountain. “Nan took a chance on helping me build this little company and has been with me, providing strong administrative support, for 23 of the last 25 years,” Kopplin said.

As Kopplin Search, Inc. grew, so did the need for more help. Kopplin fostered a friendship with Kurt Kuebler and lured him away from a successful management career to join the Kopplin group as a partner.

“Seven years ago, we added Tom Wallace as a partner in what is now Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace. So, from the two of us, me and Nan, our firm has grown to include 17 associates, either as search and consulting executives or staff in administrative support roles,” Kopplin explained. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses for many companies, including Kopplin’s group, servicing the private club industry. The great recession of 2008 put a damper on activities as many companies and clubs struggled with just surviving, let alone growing and expanding. Much the same has happened again, as the industry has hunkered down and has had to develop innovative ideas to meet club members’ demands during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not all gloom and doom. “We’re very optimistic about the future and evaluate opportunities that we see emerging as we come out of this terrible pandemic,” Kopplin emphasized.

“The private club business has proven to be resilient and we have been proud to partner with so many great general managers, club department heads and board members creatively to survive and thrive in these challenging times.”

It’s been a long time since Kopplin picked up that phone call from a club president in Eau Claire, WI that put Kopplin on a path of incredible success.

“Working in this industry is my passion. It’s something I enjoy every day,” Kopplin added. “My KK&W partners and associates keep me very busy and while I don’t travel a million miles a year anymore, I’m fortunate to work on the projects I choose.

“I’ve cherished every one of my 45 years in the private club industry, and I tell people who ask what I am doing these days that these are not my retirement years. They’re my Renaissance years!” To which we say, Amen!

COVER STORY BY DAVE WHITE, EDITOR, BOARDROOM MAGAZINE

Kopplin’s Accomplishments Recognized

BY JOHN FORNARO, PUBLISHER

Today, we honor Dick Kopplin for the part he has played in the success of BoardRoom magazine. Both, Dick and I started our companies at the same time… 25 years ago.

Kopplin Search, founded by Dick, happened to be our first advertiser and has been advertising with us for 25 years.

Dick’s support has been another significant contribution to us, and a belief, many in the industry were not accepting, of the need for development of the private club board of directors. That belief? That an informed board is good and uninformed board member is not.

Today it continues that many clubs are setting there board members to fail, and increasing micromanaging, by not informing and developing the board’s knowledge along with the detailed roles and responsibilities for board members.

Dick, and his partners  in Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace – Kurt Kuebler and Tom Wallace – along with their staff play a vital role in our industry. There is a talent in whom he has chosen as partners. Dick is not uncomfortable sharing his strengths and weakness, and he has made sure his partners fill in the areas that help make the company better.

Let’s not forget, the qualified general managers KK&W places at private clubs across the country and helping provide millions of private club members a great experience and purpose for the remaining years of their lives. Yes, what Dick has built benefits every member his company has helped.

Dick’s values and principles, through his vision and innovation place Dick Kopplin as one of the most influential people in the industry. I love Dick as a person and am grateful to have him as my friend.

As BoardRoom magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary, I hope this recognition of Dick will remind him of our company’s appreciation for helping make BoardRoom magazine successful by being who he is and what he has accomplished.

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Dick Kopplin Ready For Renaissance Years2021-08-03T01:56:32+00:00

City Clubs: Surviving and Thriving

The KK&W team contacted top city club managers to gather insights into how city clubs are handling and responding to this challenging time.

In some ways clubs have weathered the events of 2020 like they always have but enduring all of these amid a global pan­demic has created a nearly impossible situation for city clubs.

Once vibrant hubs of connection, business events and social activities, many city clubs suffered as people fled crowded cities to quarantine in suburbs and desolate areas. Businesses closed and members worked from home offices.

City clubs experienced high member attrition, shifts in member categories (from full-dues resident members to half-dues non-resident members). Nearly all city clubs experienced a significant decrease in member usage and revenue because of stay-at-home orders and the cancellation of events.

Recognizing that city clubs have been presented with some grave obstacles that may prove insurmountable to some, the KK&W team contacted top city club managers to gather in­ sights into how city clubs are handling and responding to this challenging time.

Like the rest of the private club industry, city clubs made adjustments to keep members comfortable and safe. They pivoted to virtual programming during stay-at-home orders.

Daniel Perez at the New York Athletic Club implemented numerous out-of-the-box virtual events such as wine tastings, whiskey tastings, virtual happy hours, online cooking classes, virtual fitness challenges and more. City clubs created at-home experiences for members with elaborate to-go foods, online activities and creative virtual events to keep members connected to the club.

The pandemic presented an excellent opportunity to bring the club to members and gain access to members’ lives. It solidified the club’s importance and the value of club membership, but it also provided clubs with a unique glimpse into members’ homes.

During virtual events and meetings with members, one manager shared that he took notes of important items in the background, such as diplomas, favorite sports teams, hobbies, and pets, to understand his members better.

Most city clubs have been and continue to downsize as much as possible to control costs. John Dorman, GM of The University Club in New York City, calls it “right-sizing” for the current climate. City clubs are watching finances and have kept labor tight by laying off staff, including management. Some city clubs cut employee salaries by up to 20 percent and reduced hours to four-day-work-weeks to control costs. Many of the top city club CEOs were also asked or volunteered to take pay cuts.

While certain city clubs have paid partial or full 2020 staff bonuses, it was likely dependent on that club’s fiscal year. Decision-makers continue to be cautious and extremely conservative with employee raises and bonuses. Some have been hesitant to reinstate employees’ full salaries after temporary reductions were issued last April or May.

The New York Athletic Club has taken the challenges of the last year and turned them into opportunities. General Man­ager Roger Simon and his team re-configured many business practices and evaluated the club’s strengths and weaknesses, which became apparent during COVID-19. “We’ve all learned a lot about our clubs over the last several months,” he said and shared several updated practices the club has implemented:

  • Communications not only include safety aspects but a sentiment of community, mutual concern and support among members.
  • The club implemented additional storage spaces for members choosing to commute to the club via bicycle because of concerns over the safety of mass transit.
  • The club created a relationship with a medical practitioner who can offer expedited COVID-19 testing opportunities for members to avoid long lines at health facilities.

Charles Johnson, GM of Detroit Athletic Club, believes city clubs will be grappling to forecast business models and ad­just operating models for the next year or two. The financial impact of 2020 and the reduction of events in 2021 will dramatically impact city clubs’ ability to invest in their facilities, which for many is their greatest asset.

According to Johnson, city clubs have to understand and define their value proposition to evaluate the current business model and assess sustainability for the future. City clubs must diversify services and amenities and analyze strategic direction to evolve and remain relevant.

Overall, city/ athletic clubs are trying to solve three major problems:

  1. Declining and disengaged memberships because members are learning to live within a mile of their homes.
  2. Staff challenges include inactive/furloughed employees, employees experiencing financial hardship, low staff morale and the need for retraining.
  3. Low business activity due to reduced food and bever­age revenues, few overnight room sales and minimal private events.

While the past several months have been hard on city clubs, the grim reality is that it could take years to get city clubs back to where they were just one year ago. But with forward thinking and a proactive, strategic approach, city clubs can diversify, evolve and reinvent their way to success.

Now is the time to reimage the club and recognize that members need connectivity to the club and each other, even if it’s virtual. The Union League and the University Club of Milwaukee are great examples of city clubs that had average facilities but used unique creativity to provide vibrant, eclectic offerings and merger opportunities.

Both clubs have dramatically lowered their average age of members and built a financially sustainable future by proactively evolving and diversifying their offerings.

We believe city clubs will be most successful by recognizing that the club environment is dramatically different when members are not walking through the doors. Many city clubs were founded on intellectual stimulation, athletics and community, which should be the foundation for future decisions.

Bringing the club to the members where they want it requires acquiring satellite locations in the suburbs, other parts of the city, or in popular vacation spots. It means establishing merger opportunities and creatively using current spaces to provide membership value and new experiences.

City club leaders must be bold, resourceful and forward thinking. Experimenting with new ideas and creating new programs is the path to the future.

Creating outside restaurants, using food trucks, implementing a “heat and serve” takeout program, converting parking garages to outdoor fitness spaces, and offering numerous online classes such as cooking classes, cheese tastings and exercise competitions takes the club outside the four walls to members’ homes.

Inside the four walls of the club may look different as well. Perhaps city clubs find success in converting overnight guest rooms to private offices for members.

The future is bright for city clubs that adapt to today’s changing demographics. It requires great communication between all stakeholders (boards, management, staff and members) and constant planning and evolution. City clubs that employ strategic thinking have supportive boards and strive to create membership value are the clubs that will thrive, not just survive.

The best chance of prospering stems from a management team that has taken advantage of the time away from “business as usual” and has developed new financial strategies, planned strategic initiatives and is acquiring new assets.

This is the time to plan and prepare for reopening to grow for the future. Management and the board must look to the future together and make hard choices to fulfill the club’s mission and assure long-term sustainability.

Not all crises are bad. The pandemic has presented a transformational time for city clubs. Plans, programs, amenities and activities successful in the past will look different in the future. Mission-driven city clubs will look back on this pivotal time as a ”wake up” call that they need to evolve to ever-changing circumstances constantly.

Contributed by Richard Kopplin, Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM & Thomas B. Wallace Ill, CCM, CCE, ECM
Partners at KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE

THE BOARDROOM MAGAZINE March/April 2021

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City Clubs: Surviving and Thriving2021-08-03T01:47:40+00:00

Stronger Through Adversity

Stronger Through Adversity

From business guru Joseph Michelli―the leadership lessons you need to navigate your team and company through the greatest business crisis in modern history, for long-lasting success.

Now, in Stronger through Adversity, Michelli provides the invaluable wisdom he gained from 140+ top global business leaders on all aspects of leading through and beyond COVID-19, including crisis management, keeping employees and customers safe, maintaining a culture of engagement, rapidly innovating, and more.

Our Partner Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM provides his perspective on pages 178, 179 and 210!

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Stronger Through Adversity2021-05-14T16:49:23+00:00

You Are Always Paying for Training

Paying_For_Trainting

The fact is, no one becomes good at anything without training, without going out and trying to be better every single day. 

“Whether we realize it or not, we are paying for training,” Jeffrey Kreafle, general manager/CEO at Congressional Country Club, wrote on my office whiteboard early on in my time as food and beverage director at the club. It has since become a mantra of mine.

I’ve always had a passion, admiration and desire to be around the best. My entire life, I have been fascinated with people who are at the top of their game, the best and the brightest who have the skills and confidence to perform to the highest levels. Additionally, I have always been drawn to hard work. Early in my career, this manifested by showing up for every extra task offered, every class, project, my hand was up.

I only applied to work for the best; a career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts working all over the United States led me to several amazing years at Congressional Country Club and now with the team at Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace.

In other parts of my life, the “training gene” has shown up in my drive for physical ability, running marathons, climbing mountains and hiking long distances.

What I’ve realized throughout is this: None of this is possible without training. Training day in and day out, training not only when it is fun or interesting, but when it is pouring rain, when you’re tired, when you’re stressed out, and you want to give up with every ounce in your body.

The fact is, no one becomes good at anything without training, without going out and trying to be better every single day. In fact, if you never train, you will never amount to much at all.

During my years as a food and beverage director, I was in environments where daily pre-shift briefings that were planned included tastings, handouts, quizzes and team interaction that were non-negotiable. We were held accountable for training themes daily, weekly, monthly, following a schedule, focusing on our weak areas, strengthening the things at which we were great and everything in between.

Like an NFL team, watching their plays over and over after the game, we obsessed about things that went wrong. The sin was not making a mistake. The sin was repeating it over again. The good news is that within food and beverage, there are millions of mistakes to make; therefore, millions of ways we can obsessively get better a little each day.

The goal has never been to have zero mistakes. That’s impossible if you ever want to achieve excellence. You have to get very comfortable with failing. The goal was creating a learning environment where we celebrated both successes and failure, therefore learning and growing from both.

We would bring in subject matter experts, vendors, speakers, trainers, include team members who were passionate about particular topics. When mistakes were made, we talked about them in an open and honest environment. Every year we created a training plan and pushed to increase our budget for these things.

Now in my primary role as a trainer and consultant, I often hear that a team “does not have time or money for training.” I remind them that you can choose to pay for training by budgeting for it, planning it, building programs that fit it into every day and holding the team accountable to that standard, or you will end up paying for it through missed opportunities to deliver service and sell, glitches, waste, lower capture ratios in your restaurants, comp items and team turnover.

You simply do not become the best at anything without training and the choice as a leader is yours because, whether you are intentional about it or not, Jeffrey was right “You are ALWAYS paying for training.”

Contributed by Annette Whittley
Consultant & Search Executive, Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace
Connect at annette@kkandw.com or (561) 827-1945.

THE BOARDROOM MAGAZINE – November/December 2020

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You Are Always Paying for Training2021-06-25T16:23:27+00:00
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